W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > February 2002

Re: css layout should be symmetrical

From: L. David Baron <dbaron@fas.harvard.edu>
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 13:41:19 -0500 (EST)
To: Vadim Plessky <lucy-ples@mtu-net.ru>
cc: <www-style@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.OSF.4.33.0202191324340.15033-100000@is03.fas.harvard.edu>
On Tue, 19 Feb 2002, Vadim Plessky wrote:
> Well, there is no warranty that Tables will be supported in future versions
> of CSS.
> So far, Tables is part of CSS3 Tables module - and this module is optional.
> You can develop CSS-compliant browser whcih doesn't support tables at all.
>
> Therefor, Tables in CSS *should not* be used for layout.

There's also no requirement that web browsers implement CSS.  So should
CSS never be used to suggest layout?  I would agree that pages using CSS
table display types should be designed to gracefully (to some degree)
degrade when those display types aren't supported, but that doesn't mean
those display types shouldn't be used if user-agent support is
sufficient.

(The box model module is just as optional as the tables module -- it
doesn't make sense on aural implementations, for example.  The
modularization (in my opinion) is part of a recognition of the reality
that it's difficult to implement all of CSS2 (and even more so for CSS3)
and that it should be possible to describe conformance criteria for
partial implementations.)

> Tables in CSS should be used only with XML!

I disagree.  For many documents that contain user interface, the best
way to describe a layout using the existing features of CSS uses the
table display types.  Using floats to suggest complex table-like layouts
(as I've seen demonstrated) is a hack and is often somewhat fragile and
hard for authors to write.  The table display types certainly aren't
ideal -- I think a box model somewhat like XUL would be much better. [1]

> again tables...
> We should get rid of them - tables are for represnting Tabular data, not for
> layouting!

The TABLE, TR, TH, TD, elements in HTML are for representing tabular
data.  The display types used to display something shouldn't need to
convey the meaning (semantics) -- the markup should already be doing
that.  (FWIW, as a (perhaps typical?) native English speaker, I much
prefer "laying out" to "layouting".)

-David

[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-style/2001Oct/0172.html

-- 
L. David Baron        <URL: http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~dbaron/ >
Received on Tuesday, 19 February 2002 13:41:22 GMT

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